1 Year Since Graduating From College During a Global Pandemic

Well that went fast!

Well, a year it has been; one year since graduating from Babson College and an unexpected one to say the least! I celebrated by final graduation virtually last weekend, despite having grander plans to celebrate in-person. Although the COVID-19 pandemic got in the way of an in-person celebration for me, I realized the importance of reflecting on this important event and why celebrating it in an alternative way shouldn’t detract from any feeling of achievement. In fact, staying home for graduation made me realize such a critical lesson: the importance of gratefulness. 

If you would have told me a year and a half ago that I wouldn’t be attending my graduation, a global pandemic interfering would have been the least likely scenario I would have dreamt of hindering me from graduating at Babson. When times were challenging working on my honors thesis, I thought about walking across the stage with my honors peers. When I spent hours on the weekends studying for exams and writing papers, I thought about how much it would mean to receive a latin honors- how proud my family would be. My whole primary school education, I worked tirelessly towards graduating from college. A formal graduation to celebrate it all.

Yet, in reflecting back, I am reminded of how much more important the journey is than the destination. So much in life, I have a tendency to focus all of my energy on thinking about the end game. The final grade, landing the job, the next trip, or the end of the movie. I even distinctly remember how eager I was for the second semester of senior year to come, thinking that the celebrations around graduating that semester would be even better than the first semester. Parties would be better, classes would be better, the list goes on forever. Now, what I would do to go back! To relive those moments and to savor the, what seemed to be at the time, mundane events. 

To truly be content in every circumstance comes with gratitude for the provisions of that day. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught me how much I have taken for granted and I am grateful for this newfound perspective of looking at the everyday with fresh eyes. I have a newfound gratefulness for the little things.

Graduation, however, was a big thing! But what I really realized I missed the most about being there wasn’t the pom and circumstance, but the people. My best friends, acquaintances, library co-workers, professor, and everyone in between. 

My international friends and I were able to bond on the day of graduation over the fact that we were not able to attend in-person. I took so much comfort in knowing that we had each other and that, if we did, we would be ok. That any disappointment, challenge, or obstacle that got in our way we could tackle because we would be there for each other. College does that to people. It binds them. 

My friends, professors, and faculty members made my experience at Babson what it was. And my friends are the ones that I know I will take with me throughout my entire life. My chapter in college may have closed, but the door will always remain open as long as I have those around me, who made my college experience what it was, to remind me of the memories and to inspire me to continue being the curious, adventurous, excitable person that I was and continue to be. 

I am forever grateful for the privilege to have attended college, for the incredible people that I have met, and the for professors who helped me grow along the way. 

If I remind myself of these things every day, I know that I will be ok. 

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